Legitchics.com | My Story of Drug Addiction and Domestic Violence | Audrey’s Story | Written by Audrey | Edited by Legit Chics
Audrey is sharing her real-life story of her drug addiction and Domestic Violence relationship with all of us in hopes of empowering other women in similar circumstances. She chose not to be anonymous for this article. However, if you want to share your story but don’t want to share your identity, you can share your story anonymously so there is no fear, no embarrassment, and no judgment. You can be free to speak out and get those deep dark secrets off your mind. You just might help another woman in the same situation.
Here is her story:
I was born into very blessed circumstances. I grew up in a very affluent suburb of Los Angeles, California, excelled in school and got my bachelor’s degree from UCLA. My parents loved me and each other, and I had a group of amazing lifelong friends.
But on Christmas Day 2014, everything was turned upside down. I had been having a pretty crappy holiday, so I called my best friend to see if we could meet up. She invited me to a party at a guy’s apartment, and she said he was my type, and that he had cocaine and some drinks. When I met him, I completely agreed, he was my type. He was older, built, had bright blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair. It didn’t take long for us to hit it off.
Aiding in our chemistry was that “cocaine,” which I later discovered to be crystal meth.
Fueled by attraction and the high of the drug, we stayed up all night. We proceeded to stay up the next four nights, as well. Meth continued to be a daily presence in my life for the next two years.
My drug use began when I was 22. My alcohol abuse had started when I first entered college, but during my junior year I got introduced to prescription pain meds and fell in love with them. I loved the instant euphoria that they gave me. I also struggle with depression, so it was an easy remedy. At 23 I was sexually assaulted by a stranger at a party, and at 24 I was again sexually assaulted by a stranger at a bar. So, the drugs helped with the trauma that came with that.
A few weeks into our relationship, he and his young son were evicted from their apartment, with no place lined up to go. I ended up accompanying them to a small motel, where we stayed for two months. I became very close with his little boy and took care of him whenever I could. With the financial struggles, life was becoming a bizarre combination of extreme strife and extreme joy. My new boyfriend put me on a pedestal, wanted to spend every second with me, and told me he loved me almost right away. I felt like Cinderella living among the cinders.
A few months before I met him, my boyfriend had gotten fired from his well-paying job at an oil refinery. They randomly drug tested him, and knowing he wouldn’t pass he brought in a jar of someone’s clean urine into the bathroom, and he was caught. While living in the hotel he was actively searching for another refinery job, with no luck. We got our (very little amount of) money from General Relief benefits as well as his VA disability benefits. He had been in the Marine Corps in his 20’s and was honorably discharged after getting in a motorcycle accident.
The abuse began in that motel.
One morning I was about to take a shower and I asked him to grab a razor sitting on top of the windowsill. He turned bright red, his veins popped out of his neck, he slammed down his laptop screen, went up to me and screamed, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Do you not see that I’m busy?!” I was so terrified of his reaction to what I thought was a simple request that I began to sob. This was not even his worst.
The first time my boyfriend assaulted me, I was laying on the bed, and he jumped up on top of me and shoved me and grabbed my neck while yelling at me. He would get angry at me if I asked him a question while he was on the computer, or if I woke him up in the middle of the night. I guess I had done both then. He was also reeling from that week when I attempted suicide by ingesting a bunch of antidepressants.
He also became very controlling. I was interrogated about everything from “why is the passenger seat moved back a few inches since yesterday?” to “I don’t believe you are actually at your parents’ house.” Eventually I was cut off from all my friends and family. I later found out that my core group of friends would meet with my mother once a month in a sort of “summit” to get updates on my safety.
In times of desperation and fear I would text my dad, who was the only person my boyfriend allowed me to speak to, what was going on. Sometimes he would drop by to diffuse a situation, but by the time he got there my boyfriend would put on an act of “we just had a little fight, she’s blowing it out of proportion.” So that’s how my mom knew about what was going on. I was banned from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. and I was not in communication with my friends. They would sometimes text me and inquire if I was okay, and I wouldn’t respond. Every time they did, he would accuse me of trying to leave, cheating, or talking shit about him.
We moved into a one bedroom apartment four months into our relationship. I had no idea that it would be my prison for the next year and a half. I was not permitted to leave alone, except to take his son places, which I was extremely grateful for. I watched this little boy mature too fast – witnessing and at times preventing verbal and physical assaults – gave him a heartbreaking maturity. He was my only friend in this nightmare.
I knew his son from ages 9 to 11. My boyfriend had full custody of him. They had lived in the Seattle area until 2013, when they moved to Los Angeles. The mother had walked out when he was 2 years old, and eventually ended up on the streets prostituting and using meth herself. My boyfriend had another son still up in Seattle, age 24, from when he was married (to a different woman) in his 20’s.
Convincing my boyfriend that I could be trusted to go to the grocery store for 30 minutes was nearly impossible. He set up hidden cameras that recorded my every move and recorded everything I said. If I stepped out of frame, he would come home and accuse me of cheating and stealing. While in public with him, I was never allowed to look at anybody in the eye except for him.
When we first moved into the apartment, he became an Uber driver. He was renting a car and staying out all night doing meth. At some point, he started “running errands” for his dealer, who was in a very dangerous Hispanic gang in South LA. He became so engulfed in helping him that his hours driving for Uber were dwindling.
He then started meeting up with the same gang crowd and working on fraud. They became a crime ring. They would obtain stolen information such as Social Security numbers, ID’s, stealing peoples’ mail. They did a lot of check forgery and my boyfriend would apply for 20 different credit cards under various people’s names. He promised that this would make us rich. I disagreed with it but he would force me to call credit card companies and pretend to be females whose identities he had stolen. I really had no choice but to go with it, as I was so terrified of him (yet, still, loved him) and wanted to make a normal home for his son. He was pulled over in January 2016, and caught with meth and a card reader/writer, and forged checks in his car, spent a few days in jail. After I left, he ended up getting arrested again for a felony forgery charge. His court dates are still pending for that.
My addiction progressed. I used it to escape my horrific circumstances. When we would run out of drugs, the abuse would escalate. I found some solace in alcohol whenever that would happen.
One summer I became pregnant and desperately wanted to keep the baby – so I could have someone that was MINE. Someone to love me through the chaos. He insisted I get an abortion, and left me alone overnight after the procedure, and told me he would hurt me if I told anybody about it.
The abuse progressed along with the drug use. Everything was my fault. I was constantly apologizing. He would go on tirades about how I was selfish, snobby, dishonest, rude, idiotic, and ugly. He would sometimes accentuate these tirades with physical abuse. I found a good hiding place in the bathroom, until he broke down the door.
He threatened to kill me, my family, and burn down my parents’ home on a weekly basis.
I began to realize my life was in danger, but my soul was exhausted. I couldn’t fight anymore. I accepted that this was my life.
The worst physical assault was two assaults in the same day. I was driving us to an appointment, and I missed a turn, and he knocked my head against the window while pulling the emergency brake in the middle of traffic. Later that day he broke down the bathroom door while I was hiding there, picked me up and shoved me so hard against the shower door I fell down on my face. His son was in his room when this was happening, and likely heard everything. And yes, this was the day I started to make concrete safety plans. Before I had just had a bag packed and hidden, but no solid plan.
But one spring morning as he lay asleep, I snuck into the bathroom. The physical abuse had gotten to a frightening level, and I started looking into safety plans. I had tried to get into some local women’s shelters, but I was turned away because I did not have a biological child with me. So, then I went looking for someone to rescue me. I instantly thought of Adam, my on-and-off flame of 4 years, and my closest confidant. My boyfriend had forbade me to speak to him for years, but I was willing to take the risk.
When I went to message him on Facebook, I found his obituary instead. He had passed away of a heroin overdose two weeks before. I became limp and catatonic, and I couldn’t grieve for fear of being found out by my boyfriend. Something inside me told me I had to run to a safe place so I could grieve.
Two days later I took a leap of faith. At noon on April 1, 2016, I escaped to a local psychiatric hospital, and was brought into the PTSD ward. I will never forget the feeling of freedom when I sat down among several other patients, and had a conversation. I would never again be punished for talking to others. I never went back to that old apartment, and when I was released from the hospital I moved back in with my parents. I changed my contact information and never spoke to him again.
When I was denied entry to the shelters, I felt just pure terror and panic. Where was I going to go? I couldn’t go to my parents’ or my friends’ houses, as he knew where they lived. I felt like I was trapped and like I was going to eventually be murdered. When I ended up at the hospital I was told by an expert psychologist that I was at about 90% risk of being a homicide victim.
After I left, I changed my phone number and email address. I blocked him from all social media, but I had forgotten to block him from LinkedIn. He messaged me multiple times on there, telling me he missed me and he still loved me. Luckily, I didn’t receive those messages until months later. I got a 3-year restraining order against him on September 17, 2016. His brother who is living in Seattle got in touch with me, and helped me with the process. My ex was homeless at the time, so I didn’t know where to serve him. His brother alerted me that he was in county jail so then I served him there. He never showed up to any of the hearings. He continued with hacking into people’s bank accounts (including mine, as recently as this past November) and hacked into my parent’s credit card account early this year. He would always threaten to do that to my parents.
What stayed with me, however, was my addiction. Adam’s death combined with the flashbacks, nightmares, guilt and shame kept me in a constant state of mental chaos. I drank nightly, would abuse prescription drugs, and started using heroin. I was still in many ways, a prisoner.
I continued with using prescription drugs until I ultimately got sober at 29
One night I collapsed in absolute agony. Adam’s spirit came to my side. He begged me to get help. The next day I entered detox. A week later, I entered an outpatient rehab program and became committed to my recovery in entirety, and I still do so in a way to honor his life; I honor my own.
Being under the influence around his son is a huge regret I have. I plan on making amends to him when he is older, and I have more sobriety under my belt. Most of the time I would be looking after him alone I would be high.
While he never caught us in the act of doing the drugs, I know he had suspicions.
We had a bunch of loose tiles that we would do lines off of laying around the house, and his son asked me what they were for, I said that we were remodeling the bathroom. He would frequently be late for school in order for us to smoke in the bathroom and do lines before my boyfriend drove him there. We would even do lines in the car outside of his elementary school.
He was not exposed to any drug users in the hotel, but later on he would be introduced to my boyfriend’s using friends who were also in a gang. These friends and my boyfriend eventually began to start doing check, credit card, and bank fraud activities together. I’ll elaborate later – but one time, one of those people came into our apartment and stole his son’s iPad.
His son was always very interested in alcohol. He would often ask me what it was like to be drunk, and got very excited when he ate a rum butter cookie. He would spend a lot of time at his friend’s family’s home, and I have a feeling he had drank there.
At such a young age, his son acted like an adult. This child was not only the best kid I knew, but the best person I knew. He would frequently try to stop my boyfriend from hurting me, by distracting him saying, “Dad, can I have a glass of orange juice?” or “Dad, let’s go play football.” He would go up to me and hug and kiss me, tell me, “I’m so sorry that you’re sad” after my boyfriend had hurt me.
He was also aware of our financial stress, and brought it upon himself to help. I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and he said, “I want an Xbox One but I know our economic security isn’t that good, so how about I sell my Xbox 360?” A 10-year-old said that. My boyfriend, in anger at me, threw his sons cell phone against a wall and broke it, then blamed it on me. His son just stood there with one tear rolling down his cheek and said, “What did she do?? Did you have to do that to my phone??”
He was the only “normal” person I was connected to during this situation, considering my boyfriend did not allow me to speak with other adults. We would spend a lot of time together running errands (he was my grocery shopping buddy, and he’d always insist on carrying all the groceries like a gentleman) watching funny videos, cuddling, playing video games, playing catch. He made me feel like a human in an environment where I was demeaned constantly. Every night we would say goodnight and I love you.
He and his son were evicted right after I left, and his son went to live with his friend’s family by his school. The police told me a few months ago that he and his son were living in a motel down the street from the sober living house I am currently in. On January 24th, my ex was arrested for child endangerment, and his son was placed into foster care. There is currently a DCFS case open for juvenile dependency. I have a friend in my outpatient rehab whose daughter goes to his middle school, and she said that he is doing well – laughing and playing basketball with his friends. That’s all I can ask for, that he is happy and healthy and safe.
There is a great domestic violence awareness PSA I saw once, the tagline is:
“When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.”
Many people just assume that a text or call can help, but it can actually make the situation much, much worse. I would suggest for others whose loved ones are experiencing Domestic Violence to let the police know their concerns and have them do a welfare check. Whenever the police were called to my apartment, it was after a violent incident, and he was always there while tensions were high. I turned them away each time. If an officer had randomly come to check, there is a higher chance I would have gotten help.
But ultimately, all you can really do for your loved one is to keep loving them. Don’t judge, don’t try to rescue, don’t wonder why she is staying. Just love the woman they were before this monster came into her life.
My Warrior Words of Wisdom:
- Get educated on domestic violence and narcissistic personality disorder. watch every YouTube video you can. If I hadn’t gotten that information, I would have lost my sanity. It made me feel less alone, and that maybe all of this wasn’t my fault.
- Make a safety plan. Pack a bag full of clothes, some money, and identification. Leave when he is not around, or at night.
- Think of how good your life could be without the abuse. I had a fantasy of moving to New York to escape my boyfriend, and the dreams of being independent, happy, and successful were what kept me going day to day. Even if they don’t come true, it will give you perspective on how dire your situation is and how you deserve normalcy.
- Get honest with yourself, and decide if you have the disease of alcoholism/addiction and seek help for it. I found that I could not work on my PTSD while still drinking and using. Now, in sobriety, the healing process has officially begun.
- Tell your story. It will inspire others.
Today, I have over five months of sobriety and I now have peace. I am surrounded by love and support, I have reunited with those I lost, and have gained so many more people in my life than I could have expected; in retaliation to the isolation I was trapped in for so many years. I am so grateful to be a survivor, and so grateful to be alive.
Thank you so much again! Excited to be a part of this!
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If you or someone you know is in a Domestic Violence relationship contact:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
or for Deaf and hard of hearing 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
Until next time,
Love Vicki Marie ~
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